At a conference years ago, I heard the late National Geographic Traveler editor Keith Bellows say, “I don’t hire travel writers. I hire writers who travel.”
That struck a chord with me.
I love to travel, and much of my writing is travel focused. However, I also write about topics ranging from a scientist who studies the sleeping habits of lemurs to a non-profit group that trains at-risk young people to work in restaurants.
So how did I get into this business?
Well, the start wasn’t promising. Like most people, the first time my name appeared in a newspaper was in a birth announcement in the classified section. Unfortunately, instead of appearing in the “Births” column, it popped up under “Livestock for Sale.” And, yes, I’ve been dining out on that story ever since I used it to win a public-speaking competition in Grade 6.
Despite that early encounter with the written word, I went on to earn a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University. After stints as a business reporter and a junior magazine editor, I became a freelance writer.
I’ve since written for more than 80 publications and websites in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere, including National Geographic Traveler, enRoute, Trivago, The Huffington Post, Dreamscapes, Ottawa Magazine, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and The Ottawa Citizen.
In addition, I’ve spoken about travel and other topics as a guest on TVOntario, CBC Radio’s “Cross-Country Checkup,” “CTV Morning Live,” Rogers TV’s “Ottawa Experts” and other programs. Several clips are available on the media appearances page.
As an author, I’ve written or co-authored 13 books, including Wanderlust: A Social History of Travel, The Urge to Splurge: A Social History of Shopping and The Environment in Contemporary Africa.
I blog about travel in Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec and upstate New York at OttawaRoadTrips.com, and I have several other websites in development.
I also really love penguins. I mean, a lot. Past the point of caring about any semblance of hair styling, really.